Maty Waterkotte (left) and Leah Ley

There’s no sibling rivalry between QMG Nurses Leah Ley and Maty Waterkotte. For these sisters, who work side-by-side at the QMG Surgery Center, the time they spend together has brought them closer together. As Maty shared, working with her sister is like getting a “little piece of home at work every day.” For Nurses’ Week, we asked the two about their relationship, their journey to becoming a nurse, and how their career has inspired them.

Tell us about your role at QMG and how long you’ve been here.
Leah:  I’ve been a nurse at QMG going on six years at the end of May. I worked in medical oncology for five years and then moved to the Surgery Center as a pre/post nurse last April.

Maty:  As a Quincy native, I’ve always received my healthcare at QMG. I moved back to Quincy from Arizona in 2019 and started in the nurse specialty float pool. I transitioned to the Ambulatory Care Center and now am working as a pre/post nurse at the Ambulatory Surgery Center!

When and why did you decide to become a nurse?
Leah: I always loved the idea of being a nurse when I was in high school, but I couldn’t stand the thought of handling blood, needles, and the sorts so I always ruled it out. I went on to college and changed my major a couple of times and while I was job shadowing a dietician she told me that she wished that she would have become a nurse. That statement really sparked my interest and made me face my fear of blood and gore to go job shadow several nurses. Thankfully, I was able to overcome my fears and decided that I could handle it; so I went forward with choosing nursing as my degree and have not regretted it since!

Maty: As the youngest of 5, I have always looked up to each of my siblings. Two of my sisters are nurses and have had a great deal of impact on me. However, as a sophomore in college, I went on a retreat and asked God for a sign for my future and purpose. At the time I was majoring in business. The Sunday that I finished the retreat, I received an email from my university stating I was accepted into the nursing program. I took that as a pretty safe bet that I should pursue nursing.

What do you love most about being a nurse?
Leah: The people are what I love most about nursing. Caring for them and interacting with them on a daily basis is what brings me so much joy and fulfillment in my career. I love being able to be a calm or comforting presence for sick and/or scared patients/family.

Maty: My favorite part about nursing is getting to love on people during their most personal and vulnerable times. I love getting to know each patient and making them feel as comfortable as they can while I take care of them. Each patient wears such different shoes, this has helped me grow in so many ways personally. I’ve learned so much from my patients as many of them are wise beyond years.

What is it like working alongside your sister?
Leah: Working alongside my sister, Maty, is so much stinkin’ fun. My sisters are my best friends so getting to come to work every day to spend alongside your best pal is pretty neat. It is also nice being able to pull her into a patient’s room to get her medical opinion on different things or just get her input on work-related instants when I may be questioning myself. Patients always find great joy in seeing sisters when Maty is working pre-op and she tells them that her sister will be recovering them in PACU. It’s always a nice conversation piece with patients and they always find it pretty cool that we work together.

Maty: Working with my sister is such a joy. Quite possibly one of the coolest things about my job. Leah is a wonderful and intelligent nurse with such a servant heart. She helps keep me accountable and we are able to bounce ideas off of each other which helps both of us learn since we are both new to the surgery world. My favorite part about working with her is getting a little piece of home at work every day.

What advice do you have for others considering a career in nursing?
Leah: The advice I have for other individuals considering the nursing profession is to manage your time well through school so that you can still have a life outside of nursing. Also, nursing is such a rewarding profession so you will almost always be able to end your workday with a sense of fulfillment knowing that you may have changed someone’s life for the better in some way, shape, or form.

Maty: Nursing is such a selfless job. I have to remind myself several times a day that I have no idea what people are dealing with when they leave my care; the only thing I can do for them is kind and treat them like I’d treat my momma. A career in nursing is a beautiful thing because there are so many different avenues. You will never stop learning. Lastly, I used to be really afraid to ask questions to doctors, nurses, etc. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself and for others is to ask questions. This will help you learn so much and keep your patients safe! Generally, providers will be happy that you asked and glad to help.